The HM Plant Honda team is looking to maintain its winning momentum this Bank Holiday weekend when returning to action at Oulton Park for the third round of the British Superbike Championship.
Josh Brookes arrives at the Cheshire circuit fresh from his debut BSB race win in the second race at Thruxton which elevated him to second in the overall standings, team-mate whilst Ryuichi Kiyonari is keen to repeat his previous success at the track which included double victories in 2005 and 2006.
Steve Plater currently leads the standings in the National Superstock 1000 Championship by ten points from nearest rival Howie Mainwaring, who he edged out in a dramatic second round at Thruxton.
Josh said: “Oulton Park is a real fun track and it’s unlike anywhere else we go. I get a real buzz from it, especially the Clay Hill section which is really blind – it’s exciting and you get a good adrenaline rush. I think the changes we made at the test last week will give us that bit extra, but it is hard to know how much difference until we get out on track for practice. It should definitely help on corner exit speed and it should give us a jump out of the turns where we previously had lost time at Brands Hatch and a bit at Thruxton.
“I know this weekend is going to be close, I think ever closer than Thruxton, as everyone will want to push harder to make up for average results at the other rounds. There seems to be this trend where certain riders perform well at certain tracks, so I think Tommy (Hill) and Stuart (Easton) are going to be the ones to beat so I have to come up with my best game plan to combat that. I know that now I have won a race I will have a bit of a target on my back, but that doesn’t worry me, I just need to go out and do my own thing on the Fireblade and get the best results I can for the HM Plant Honda team.”
Kiyo said: “We had a few problems at Thruxton but I hope that we have now solved these after a test at Darley Moor last week. We have made some changes to the electronics which I think will make the HM Plant Honda Fireblade work even better, especially at Oulton Park as the bike seems to suit the circuit there. For me, I love Oulton Park as it has ups and downs, fast straights and nice corners but you have to push hard to be fast as it is a challenging circuit. I am approaching Oulton Park like I did at Thruxton. I want to be at the front and finishing on the podium again like I have before.”
Steve said: “I am really hoping for a repeat of the Brands Hatch race at Oulton Park this weekend. At Thruxton it was a tough race for me as it was a hard pace and I wasn’t feeling one hundred per cent so I was struggling a bit to be honest, but we still got the win which is the main thing. Oulton Park will be a different story and I am definitely feeling confident we can have another good result for the HM Plant Honda team. You need to find a good setting at this circuit as you really need to push hard there so that will be a priority during free practice, but I know that we have the pace to fight for the win or at least a podium. There are some riders that traditionally go well at Oulton Park but I think it will be a really open playing field, but hopefully with the same result and a another win for me and the HM Plant Honda team.”
Team Manager Havier Beltran said: “The whole HM Plant Honda team is looking forward to this weekend and we know that both Josh and Kiyo have the pace to be up there again fighting for the wins. This was the circuit where Josh made his debut last season, so he has good memories here; likewise Kiyo has previously had some really great results at this circuit. The team has worked hard so far this season with the new Motec and Ohlins systems and we are really moving forward and making progress. We will be looking closely at the time it takes for each race distance to compare against what was set last season so we can see how much improvement has been made and that way we can gauge a comparison. We are hoping for some good weather again and then both riders will be ready for what I am sure is going to be another two cracking races.
“For Steve he obviously wants to continue his success from the opening two rounds and trying to once again extend his championship lead. He put on a really good show at Thruxton to show the speed and consistency of the Honda CBR1000RR and he will be aiming to do the same again here, not only for HM Plant Honda and all our sponsors but also for the fans.”
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